Chinese University of Hong Kong’s student union disbands under pressure

  • Chinese University of Hong Kong’s student union has disbanded on Thursday, eight months after the university cut ties with it
  • The school administration has released a statement in response, saying it has always been willing to work with the student body provided that its actions are ‘legally compliant’
Yanni Chow |

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The leadership of Chinese University’s student union resigned in March after the school cut ties with the body. On Thursday, it was revealed the union has disbanded entirely. Photo: K. Y. Cheng

The Chinese University of Hong Kong’s student union disbanded on Thursday, eight months after the university cut ties with the student body and accused its union leaders of “exploiting” the campus for their political agenda.

In a statement on its Facebook page on Thursday, the student body said it was a “matter of profound regret that CUSU (the Chinese University’s Student Union) is now history”.

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“For fifty years, CUSU existed as an independent student organization whose representatives were elected through a democratic process,” said the statement.

“I would like to thank our students and the public for standing with us all this time. Although CUSU no longer exists as an organization, CUHKers are still here and we remain faithful to the ideals that have guided us throughout.”

The university has stopped collecting fees from the students on its behalf several months ago, and has demanded that the union register as an independent society or company.

Chinese University formally cut ties with its student union in February. Photo: Shutterstock

After seeking legal advice, the union, founded in 1971, decided to disband.

Hours later, the university issued a statement to say that it regretted the union’s dissolution.

The school administration had “engaged in systematic and collaborative dialogue with the CUSU to identify options for it to independently register in accordance with either the Societies or Companies Ordinance”, the statement said.

“CUHK has always been willing to work with CUSU provided that its actions and its incorporation are legally compliant.”

National security police raid University of Hong Kong student union office

In July, the University of Hong Kong (HKU) also announced that it would no longer recognise its student union. The decision came after the body had passed a sympathy motion for a man who killed himself after stabbing a police officer.

The next month, some HKU student leaders were arrested by the police and accused of national security offences.

The unions from CUHK and HKU are not the only student bodies who have got into trouble with university management.

Six of the city’s eight publicly funded universities have ceased collecting membership fees for their student unions starting this year.

Only Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and the Education University of Hong Kong still collect fees on their student unions’ behalf.

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